Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe thinks the Warriors are playoff contenders in the Western Conference this season.

Go here to read his take on the upcoming season in the West.

Here’s an excerpt on what he wrote about the Warriors:

“(Andrew) Bogut is a transformational defensive player, and the shooting with which the Warriors can surround him is frightening, especially if rookie small forward Harrison Barnes settles in as a quality starter. If Barnes struggles, (Brandon) Rush can slide to small forward, as he often did last season. Bogut and (David) Lee should mesh well on offense, too. Both can work the pick-and-roll as scorers and passers, and Lee, in particular, has developed into a good enough one-on-one player to function outside the pick-and-roll. But we have to see them play first, and to see if point guard Stephen Curry’s ankle holds up. A full 629 of Curry’s 732 minutes last season came with the now-departed Monta Ellis, as have the huge majority of meaningful minutes in his career. Let’s see what he can do with a heavier ball-handling load, Klay Thompson on the wing and two quality big men.”

Lowe goes on to say he can’t wait to watch the Warriors play this season. I don’t think he’s alone. I was listening to a podcast last week and ESPN’s Bill Simmons had the same opinion, about the Warriors as a potential playoff team and about the excitement they’ll bring to the court.

Personally, I think it’s all about health. Curry and Bogut have lost numerous games to injury the past couple seasons. If that continues, the Warriors will probably contend for a lottery spot, because Golden State lacks depth. Jarrett Jack was a nice pickup to back up Curry, but if he’s your starting point guard, you’re probably not sniffing the playoffs.

If the Warriors are healthy … it’s hard not to be excited about the possibilities. When healthy, Curry is a top-10 point guard (you could make a case for top 5) and Bogut is a top-5 center. There aren’t a lot of teams with that kind of talent at the two most important positions on the court (though in today’s NBA, small forward is making a case for being as important, if not more, than the center position). With a very talented second-year guard (Klay Thompson), a top-15 power forward (David Lee) and an exciting rookie at small forward (Harrison Barnes) — that’s a very talented starting five.

The Warriors lack depth (only Jack and Richard Jefferson are proven NBA players), but their starters seem talented enough to make a run at one of the final playoff spots.

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